Football: Desertmartin Swifts hit Cookstown RBL

Cookstown RBL and Desertmartin Swifts battle for the ball in the middle of the park
Cookstown RBL and Desertmartin Swifts battle for the ball in the middle of the park
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Desertmartin Swifts 4-1 Cookstown RBL

Desertmartin Swifts ran out 4-1 winners in their league encounter with local rivals Cookstown RBL.

The visitors were dealt an early blow when Richard McPartland was injured in the first tackle of the game and had to be replaced.

Swifts set the early running on Saturday with RBL goalkeeper Andy Graham making two good saves inside the first 10 minutes.

RBL, missing the presence of suspended Dean Campbell in midfield, initially struggled to retain possession.

However, Derek McPartland’s men slowly began to gain the upper hand with both Richard McMenemy, playing his first game of the season, and Trevor Brownlee going close with half chances.

The first goal when it came was, thus, somewhat against the run of play. Swifts broke down the right and when the cross came in the ball was cleared but only into the path of Mervyn Hutchinson who swept it home.

Swifts’ one-goal lead was almost cancelled out early in the second half when a Philip McGarvey left footer from outside the box hit Paul Leacock’s post.

However, the introduction of Solomon Labwama for the home side proved decisive, with his pace and power causing the RBL defence all sorts of problems. And it was his goal on 55 minutes– a cool lob over the onrushing Graham– that doubled Swifts’ lead.

RBL managed to pull one back 10 minutes later, McMenemy slotting home low past Leacock, despite being under heavy pressure.

Having worked a way back into the game the visitors through it away two minutes later.

A mix-up allowed Swifts to steal the ball 40 yards from goal and Ryan Brown surged forward and beat Graham with a looping shot.

The goal was a suckerpunch for RBL and when McGarvey limped off with 10 minutes to go with McPartland all out of substitutes, the game was effectively over.

John Smith rounded of the scoring with a good finish from inside the box to ensure RBL remain rooted to the bottom of Junior Division One.